Cognitions of Test-Anxious Children Under Naturalistic Test-Taking Conditions

Sheri Zatz, Laurie Chassin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


This study investigated the cognitions of low, moderate, and high test-anxious children under naturalistic test-taking conditions. As predicted, high test-anxious children showed more task-debilitating cognitions during testing, including more negative self-evaluations and off-task thoughts and fewer positive self-evaluations. High test-anxious children also showed relatively high frequencies of on-task thoughts and coping self-statements. The study also examined the role of classroom environment in the test anxiety-performance relation. Relative to their peers, the performance of high test-anxious children was debilitated only in classrooms that were high in perceived evaluative threat. Moreover, significant relations between cognitions and math performance were obtained only in high-threat classrooms, and these relations were maintained when the effects of math ability were statistically controlled. Future test-anxiety research and clinical intervention might view test anxiety within a broader theoretical context of person-environment fit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-401
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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